The South Yorkshire Police officers had been dispatched to Kos in a fresh bid to discover what happened to Ben, who was just 21 months old when he went missing from the island in 1991.
A senior police officer, named in reports, Detective Superintendent Matt Fenwick, has been summoned back to the UK after reports that members of his team spent eight hours drinking.
Ben’s mother, Kerry Needham, defended the officers at the centre of the row, telling ITV’s Good Morning Britain she is confident they are doing all they can to discover the truth behind her son’s disappearance.
She said: “They work so, so hard, putting every ounce of energy into trying to find out what happened to Ben and for this to come out, it could hinder the case.
“I know that without these officers we will not find the answers to Ben. I am so angry about it. No-one can understand how much hard work these officers put into this case. It is very, very cruel what has happened.”
She said she “fully” supported the police team and disagreed with the decision to send the senior officer home.
She told the programme: “Matt Fenwick is an amazing detective; he has been by our side for a few years now and we have never had any problem with his work.
“These police officers, they are human beings at the end of the day. What they choose to do in their own time is their business, not anybody else’s.
“It is horrendous. I can’t believe what has happened. We work together — the police, the media and myself, we work together as a team.
"This is just not team work. We are supposed to be trying to find the answers to what happened to Ben along with these detectives, and this could just hinder it. And I’m angry this report had to come out, it is just not nice.”
Police pledged a £10,000 reward for information on Tuesday and a team of 10 senior officers travelled to the Greek island as part of an ongoing search for Ben, which is reported to have cost £1m.
By 5pm on Tuesday the officers gathered for drinks at their hotel before heading to a pizzeria and bars. The last members of the team to turn in wound up their evening at 1.24am, according to The Sun.
Earlier this year, South Yorkshire Police said they had received extra funding from the Home Office to help in the search.
Ben, from Sheffield, vanished on July 24, 1991, after travelling to the island with his mother and grandparents. Over the years, there have been a number of possible sightings and a range of theories about what happened to Ben, who would now be 26.